President Obama sat down Friday afternoon with MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway for a live televised interview. While young voters across the country tuned in to see the president talk about issues facing the millennial generation, MTV’s Andrew Jenks sat down with a group of students at Georgetown University, arguably one of most politically active campuses in the U.S.
Jenks, a documentary filmmaker, has been touring the country speaking to young voters throughout the presidential campaign. After the live interview in which the students voiced their concerns on everything from LGBT rights to the deficit, ABC News spoke with Jenks.
ABC News: What was it like giving students the opportunity to voice their concerns and respond directly to President Obama’s remarks?
Jenks: It was a rush. I asked one question, and I think it’s something that means a great deal to a lot of students like the ones here on campus with the average college student graduating with $26,000 in debt and going into a job environment where there is record unemployment. It was interesting that the president certainly understood this and talked about the importance of community colleges.
ABC News: Do you think that young people are buying what he’s selling?
Jenks: It feels like to me, those who are undecided are focused on the economy. I wonder if when they go and vote, at that last second, they’ll really think, “Alright, what’s going on in my wallet?” I think that’s something that both candidates are very aware of.
ABC News: Why is everyone so hung up on the youth vote when time and time again, they prove to be among the most unreliable voters?
Jenks: Historically, they don’t always show up. There has been a bad breakup with government since the 2008 run that [Obama] had with young people. I think it’s the best way to put it. There was such fervor and excitement. Obviously, he’s out there doing things like this, trying to capture it again.
ABC News: Can he recapture it?
Jenks: I really don’t know the answer to that. I guess we’ll find out on Nov. 6. I think it’s going to be really tough. He was this senator [who] had a lot of really bold ideas. But after four years, you get worn down and there are more people attacking you.
ABC News: In talking to young people in your travels across the country, were there any ones who really surprised you, shocked you even?
Jenks: I was surprised at the Republican National Convention. There were quite a few young people who were quite conservative with the exception of when it came to marriage equality. That was one thing I noticed in talking to a wide range of young people there.
ABC News: Where do you see this generation heading?
Jenks: A lot of young people aren’t really deterred by the state of the economy or things that go wrong. They certainly recognize it. But I can’t say I’ve heard
many young people, and there has been thousands at this point, that have said, “I’m giving up,” or, “I don’t think things will ever get fixed.” That’s not the spirit I’ve found.
ABC News: Compared to the 2008 campaign, what’s different about young people engaging in this election?
Jenks: It really circles back to the idea of a bad breakup.
ABC News: So will they ever get back together?
Jenks: That’s the question, that’s the $1 million question!